© 2004 Jamie Zawinski <email@example.com>
For posterity, here are the book reviews that I posted to my blog in 2004. This isn't a "best of", "worst of", or even, "list of everything I've read." These are just the few that I happened to write about for whatever reason. (See also: 2003 and 2005.)
Threshold, Low Red Moon, & Murder of Angels by Caitlin R. Kiernan:
Threshold and its mostly-sequel Low Red Moon are both good: Lovecraftian themes but with believable characters who are there to do more than report and then go insane.
But, one thing that was driving me nuts while reading Threshold was that she kept doing this thing where she'd run words together like "pinkwhite" and "acidsour", and every time she did it, It would stop me, and I'd cringe. It was like it was triggering some autonomic proofreading reflex that I couldn't shake.
Anyway, just a few pages in to the second book, one of the characters is talking about the novel she's working on and says,
"Oh, you mean the way I liked to run words together to make new adjectives? Well, I don't do that anymore. It just kept pissing people off."
And there was much rejoicing!
I didn't like Murder of Angels nearly as much. It is apparently the sequel to "Silk", which I read years ago and only barely remember, and I think that hasn't been helping. Also, it turns out that (to my great and not entirely pleasant surprise) this is mostly a fantasy book. It reminds a bit of me of Clive Barker's later magical-fantasy stuff, and that kind of thing just doesn't do it for me these days. But, it's got some interesting imagery, so it's been good for falling asleep to.
I enjoyed just about every story in this comp, which is a really good hit rate. Actually the only one I didn't like was the Le Guin story; all the others were great. I especially liked "A Study in Emerald" by Neil Gaiman, and "The Cookie Monster" by Vernor Vinge.
Really entertaining space-opera where our heroes are running around trying to prevent interplanetary wars while avoiding the wrath of a post-human godlike intelligence who likes to smash planets whenever someone comes close to violating causality. Both books are packed with cool ideas. And also there's a morally ambiguous party clown.
Anti-hero assassin killing for the church in space. I didn't like this one very much; it was just kind of ugly and bleak all the way through. By far the most interesting character was an AI-powered handgun, but the gun doesn't get much screen time. I preferred his previous book, ReMix.
This was crap. It was mostly a mystery, and it wasn't very mysterious. It felt like it was written to be a TV series or something, with each chapter having a contrived cliffhanger, ending on a note like, "they gazed with shock at the words that were revealed!" and then you get to find out what those words were two pages into the next chapter.
I suppose it would have been more suspenseful if I hadn't
already known the legends about the Merovingians and Templars and
the Grail bloodline and all that, but even already knowing all about
the "surprise", I expected a more interesting story. I guessed
every twist except the identity of
"The Teacher", and by then I totally didn't care.